Introducing Evidence of Prior Crimes In the Trial Penalty Phase

In People v. Johnson (1993) 6 Cal.4th 1, 15, 859 P.2d 673, the prosecutor introduced in the penalty phase, evidence of the defendant's four prior felony convictions for robbery, burglary, disorderly conduct, and theft, and numerous unadjudicated offenses including rapes, oral copulation, robberies, batteries, and assaults. the court rejected the defendant's claim of ineffective assistance based on counsel's failure to request limiting instructions regarding this evidence. ( Id. at p. 50.) The court concluded that counsel may have deemed it tactically unwise to call attention to the defendant's prior offenses by requesting similar instructions. (Ibid.)